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This article was published on September 24, 2021

Leak: Apple’s new MacBook Pros may get taller, sharper displays

Taller than Apple's usual 16:10, but shorter than 3:2

Leak: Apple’s new MacBook Pros may get taller, sharper displays
Napier Lopez
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Napier Lopez

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Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.

A new report by MacRumors provides strong evidence Apple plans to increase the resolution on its rumored ‘M1X’ 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which are expected to be announced within the next month or two.

MacRumors contributor Steve Moser took a close look at the latest macOS Monterey beta and found two mysterious new resolutions that don’t match any existing Mac: 3456 x 2234 and 3024 x 1964.

There are a couple of interesting things about these resolutions. For one, they’re obviously higher resolution than the current MacBook Pro models, which are 3072 x 1920 (16-inch) and 2560 x 1600 (13-inch). It’s curious that Apple would opt to increase the resolution and pixel density (about 250 ppi) by a fairly significant margin, considering the existing MacBook‘s are already at ‘Retina’ quality (roughly 227 ppi).

Then again, considering how many 4k laptops are on the market (that’s 3840 x 2160, for a 16:9 display), perhaps Apple didn’t want to get left behind, even if there’s likely to be a minimal visible benefit.

But what’s perhaps even more interesting about these numbers is the aspect ratios they suggest. Apple has used a 16:10 aspect ratio for almost all of its laptops for many years now, slightly ahead of the current trend for taller aspect ratios than the usual 16:9.

If these resolutions aren’t a fluke, they suggest Apple is going even taller this time, closer to the 3:2 ratio used by Surface devices (which is also the most common photography aspect ratio). Taller aspect ratios have come into vogue because, well, they’re just better for almost anything that’s not video — on a laptop starved for vertical space, at least.

What’s strange is that these aspect ratios are clearly taller than 16:10, but they don’t quite match 3:2 either. Even weirder, the two aspect ratios don’t perfectly match each other. To make the comparison a little simpler, some basic math tells us a 16:10 display has a ratio of 1.6:1, while a 3:2 display is 1.5:1. The new 16-inch model would appear to have a ratio of 1.55:1 and the 14-inch one would be 1.54:1.

Yes, the aspect ratios are only off by the tiniest fraction, but it’s weird to see when the current MacBooks match 100% perfectly. It’s also an overall unusual aspect ratio that doesn’t fit any of several common photography, film, or broadcast formats format (14:9 AKA 1.56:1 is the closest, but even that’s rather unusual). I guess Apple just has to think different.

Still, I think a little more vertical space is always a good thing on a laptop. With the new MacBooks expected to be released before the end of the year, it shouldn’t be much longer until we solve this mystery.

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